For Consumers

Medication Safety for Women

Millions of people benefit from FDA-approved medicines. However, when medicines are not used correctly, they can cause serious health problems or even death. Many of these problems can be prevented. Follow these four steps to avoid common medication mistakes:

Watch and share our video with tips for you and your family.


Graphic with four women describing safe medication use and medication use facts. Click for full description.

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1. Ask Questions

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to tell you the facts about each medicine you take. Use these materials to help you talk to your healthcare provider.

Use Medicines Wisely — Important questions to ask your doctor and other helpful tips.

  • Use Medicines Wisely Large font version (PDF 192 KB)
  • Use Medicines Wisely Printable/Refreshable braille (PDF 21 KB)
  • Use Medicines Wisely for women with intellectual disabilities and self advocates (PDF 2,451 KB)

Medicine and Pregnancy — Questions to ask before using medicines when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Medicine Booklets — Information to help you talk to your doctor about prescription medicines for high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, birth control, high cholesterol, menopause, and smoking cessation.


2. Keep a Medicine List

Write down the name and important facts about each medicine, vitamin, and herb you take. Keep the list with you all the time. Show it to you doctor, nurse, and pharmacist so that they know about all of the medicines you take.

My Medicines Record Keeper

Use the My Medicines brochure to help you keep track of the medicines you take. This brochure is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Polish, and 10 Asian/Pacific Islander languages.


3. Follow Directions

It is important that you use your medicine as directed. Your medicine may not work if you don't follow the directions. Talking too much or too little can make you sick.

  • Read the directions on the label and ask your healthcare provider how much you should take and when to take it.
  • Only take the suggested dose.
  • Learn how to read the drug facts label for the over-the-counter medicines.

4. Safely Store and Throw Out Medicines

Ask your doctor or pharmacist where you should keep your medicines at home. Also ask how you should throw out unused medicines that you don't need. Some medicines should not be put is the trash or flushed down the toilet or sink.


Other Helpful Resources

Woman reading pamphlet on High Blood Pressure

Use these resources to learn more about your medicines and get other medication safety tips.

 

 

Contact FDA

301-796-9440
Fax:301-847-8604
Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health

10903 New Hampshire Avenue

WO32-2333

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Page Last Updated: 10/10/2014
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